IOC seeks German TV’s evidence of weightlifting corruption
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Olympic Committee will ask a German broadcaster to share evidence of alleged doping cover-ups in weightlifting and financial irregularities linked to the sport’s revenues from the games.
The program broadcast Sunday by ARD implicated the International Weightlifting Federation and its long-time president, Tamas Aján, an IOC honorary member from Hungary.
“The accusations are very serious and worrying,” the IOC said in a statement on Monday.
Because the broadcast “may contain new information” since a previous complaint in 2010 about the Ajan-led IWF’s finances were closed, the IOC said its chief ethics official “will ask ARD for all the documentation in its possession in order to properly address it.”
ARD’s previous work detailing doping scandals in Russia continues to roil Olympic politics more than five years after the first broadcast.
The allegations are the latest to hit weightlifting after dozens of doping cases were revealed in retests of samples from Olympics since 2008.
Millions of dollars in the Budapest-based IWF’s share of funding from past Olympics was unaccounted for in Swiss bank accounts controlled by Aján, the program reported.
ARD also claimed there were irregularities in how samples were collected from lifters, many by Hungary’s national anti-doping agency.
Undercover reporters also filmed an apparent confession by a lifter from Thailand who said she doped with anabolic steroids before the 2012 London Olympics, where she placed third after a rival was disqualified for doping.
The athlete, Rattikan Gulnoi, was coached in London by Intarar Yodbangtoey, who is Ajan’s first vice president at the IWF, and a vice president of the Thai Olympic committee.
An Olympic disciplinary panel was created “to immediately follow up on the doping confession by Rattikan Gulnoi, an Olympic bronze medallist from London 2012, and her entourage,” the IOC said. The statement did not name Intarar.
The IOC also called for an investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which monitors compliance with global rules by sports governing bodies and anti-doping organizations.
The Olympic body said it will contact WADA “in order to keep anyone involved in the alleged infringements of the World Anti-Doping Code away from the Olympic Games.”
WADA’s investigations unit “is aware of the allegations and will continue to pursue its enquiries regarding potential breaches of the World Anti-Doping Code,” the Montreal-based global watchdog said in a statement.
The IWF also pledged on Monday to ask for ARD’s evidence and consult with WADA “in order to establish whether a wider investigation may be appropriate” into doping in Thailand.
Dismissing the claims of financial wrongdoing, the IWF said Olympic revenue money had not been missing and its executive board had full knowledge of its assets.
“The IWF has to express its shock and dismay at the program … and it categorically denies the unsubstantiated and very serious accusations made against it by the show,” the governing body said.
Ajan, who turns 81 this week, was the IWF secretary general for 25 years then was elected president in 2000. The same year, he began a 10-year stint as an IOC member. He has been an honorary member since 2010.
The Hungarian anti-doping agency, known as HUNADO, dismissed the ARD allegations on Monday.